5 Things to Avoid During a Divorce

Divorce is an emotionally charged process.  When going through, people often do and say things they would, under different circumstances, normally not do or say.  They may lash out at their former spouse, not be completely honest with their attorney, or commit a host of other missteps that can negatively affect their lives and the outcome of their divorce.  Scott P. Davis, a Tampa, Fl divorce attorney, outlines a few of the most import of these mistakes that all parties going through a divorce should avoid.

Don’t Air Dirty Laundry on Social Media Sites

Bashing or bad mouthing your ex on facebook or twitter can lead to a host of unintended consequences.  Also, f you are hiding assets or other information from your spouse and talking about it on social media, it can be used against you in court. Don’t testify against yourself, keep it classy on social media.

Lead With Your Head, Not Your Heart

Again, a divorce is a difficult and emotional experience.  It can be frustrating, infuriating, and devastating all at the same time.  When making decisions, try and leave emotion out of it and truly think logically.

Stay Out Of Your Exes Email and Social Media Accounts

As tempting as it may be to snoop around and go through your former spouse’s email, it is illegal and can be used against you in court.  If the court needs the information, it can get access to it.

Do Not Be Unrealistic With Your Demands

It may be difficult to come to grips with, but the fact of the matter is that you simply can’t get everything.  If you want to be treated fairly, you may have to compromise on some of the issues.  Figure out what is most important to you and make decisions accordingly.

Don’t Hide Anything From Your Attorney

This is a big one.  Even if you think it may be damaging or you are embarrassed by it, do not keep anything from your attorney.  They can’t help you with what they don’t know and being blindsided in negotiations or in court can be damaging to the outcome of your case.

Military vs. Civilian Divorce

Military vs. Civilian Divorce:

According to the U.S. census, civilian divorce rates across the country have been falling since the year 2000 while military divorces are becoming more and more frequent.  In fact, they have risen by 25% over the last ten years.

By the end of the 2011 fiscal year, 3.7% of marriages in which there was at least one service member, ended in divorce. This means that nearly a staggering 30,000 military marriages ended last year, the highest percentage since 1999. Enlisted women have been found to be twice as likely to divorce, as their divorce rates have reached almost 10%.

Stress is expected to be the most influential cause of military divorce. At the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, the military divorce rate was at 2.6% and has raised nearly a full percentage since then. While the service member is away, changes for each party can alter their definitions of normalcy. Service members may experience months or years of violence, only to be reintroduced to their growing families. Some military members find themselves unable to relate to their children who they come to learn they barely know, or their spouse who has learned how to live without them. Similarly, the husband or wife at home can go through hectic life changes while having to cope without present support.

There are differences to consider when comparing military divorce to civil divorce, in regards to rules regarding division of military pensions, residency requirements for filing for divorce, certain legal protections for the military member and emergency court orders pertaining to child support. One of the biggest dissimilarities that service members consider is the USFSPA (Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.) The USFSPA applies only under certain conditions (for example the marriage must have lasted at least 20 years) and allows states to divide military disposable retired pay as marital property upon divorce, including language about medical, commissary and exchange privileges. The service members Civil Relief act is another distinction in the process of military divorce. Under this act, military members are protected from lawsuits including divorce proceedings so that they can devote all of their attention to the defense needs of the nation.

Even with the high volume of military families in the state of Florida, not every divorce lawyer is able to help  military families through their divorce issues. As mentioned, military divorces, and child custody cases, come with a unique set of circumstances, especially when a service member is deployed.

Divorce can be stressful and tragic under any condition, and it is unfortunate that so many military members serving our country who return home to reunite with family wind up in a divorce.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

All marriages have their ups and downs, but when pitfalls become more commonplace and a couple finds themselves in a position where major changes need to be made, many couples either opt for a legal separation or a divorce. While a divorce is a proceeding that legally dissolves a marriage and allows each party to go on to embark on separate lives and romantic relationships, a legal separation allows a couple’s marriage to remain intact while the parties live separately.

A couple becomes legally separated when they wish to remain legally married, but live separate lives. The parties separate and receive a court order regarding issues like the division of property, alimony, child support, custody and visitation. Alimony and child support for legally separated couples are gained through a motion “pendente lite,” which is Latin for “while the action is pending” or “during litigation.” This motion is more commonly known as a separation agreement, and exists to protect the parties’ interests until a final decision to file for divorce is made. Separation agreements are very relevant and important, as they take precedent in a divorce proceeding. In a divorce proceeding a judge commonly assumes that the parties were pleased with the separation agreement, and will assign divorce conditions accordingly by simply converting the separation agreement to a divorce agreement.

Far more uncommon than a divorce, couples usually opt for legal separation for religious, financial or personal purposes. Most religions frown upon divorce, so especially religious parties will choose a legal separation in order to continue on with their own lives while remaining married for religious purposes. In many cases couples can benefit financially from remaining married. Maintaining a ten year marriage qualifies couples to take advantage of certain social security benefits, and marriages in which one or more spouses is a member of the military have especially profitable options. Many other times a couple simply needs to test the waters in order to discover whether or not they would like to continue their individual lives on their own or return to the marriage.

An important aspect of a legal separation is that parties may not enter another marriage or domestic partnership. To file for separation, one party must reside in the county where the papers are filed at the time the case has begun. There is no required length of residency for a legal separation. If you are a Southern California resident facing the difficult decision of filing for legal separation or divorce, consult with a divorce attorney in San Diego, such as Tara Yelman of Yelman & Associates, who can help guide you on your path.

Divorce Related Tax Considerations

Jacksonville Divorce & Family AttorneyGoing through a divorce can be an emotional roller coaster leaving profound lasting effects on not only your relationship with your soon to be ex, but the surrounding people close to you. It’s a battle of who gets what and how much of it. There’s a third party, however, that might be the most difficult one to deal with, and that is Uncle Sam and his various tax repercussions that arise.

While married, a couple can file a joint tax return which in most cases results to lower taxes. With joint tax returns, instead of only being able to claim one exemption, you can claim one for yourself and one for your spouse. Usually, the only risk involved in filing joint tax returns is that any mistakes made by either spouse, both will be held responsible for. However, once the two of you decide to take separate paths, you no longer qualify for these joint tax returns and are now back to being single in the eyes of the IRS.

The effects of divorce on taxes do not end there. While married, you equally claim your children as dependents in order to receive tax exemptions, but when the two of you split-up, only one of the you is allowed to claim the children. The IRS says that the claiming parent must provide more than half of that person’s support in a calendar year, but if the divorcees can agree on alternative terms, the IRS will allow that as well.

The most notorious financial burden of divorce is alimony and child support. According to tax law, alimony is equated to receiving a monthly income by the receiving party, and is thus susceptible to being taxed. While the recipient pays a tax fee, the one paying gets a tax deduction whose amount depends on how much alimony they are paying. Child support, on the other hand, is completely tax-free for both parties and of no interest to Uncle Sam.

Going through a divorce is just as much a legal battle and it is an emotional one. While sometimes you cannot control your emotions, you can control how you handle the financial obstacles and IRS tricks. Finding the right attorney who can make sure that you are not just throwing money away can prove to be well worth the cost. Although you might be single in your love life, you should not be single in your legal one. Get in touch with the San Diego divorce lawyers at Yelman & Associates to find a partner in your battle with Uncle Sam and the IRS.

Interstate Jurisdiction in Child Custody

Child custody issues can be difficult for all parties involved in any scenario, but when multiple states are involved, child custody laws become especially complicated. They can involve state, federal and even international law.

There are multiple laws that have been created to deter interstate parental kidnapping. The most relevant and comprehensive law that prevents “seize-and-run” situations in the United States is the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The UCCJEA compiles a set of rules regarding child custody and visitation, however it does not regulate child support.

Prior to UCCJEA, a parent could take their child to another state, get granted sole custody, and the original state would have to abide by the ruling. This changed after UCCJEA passed. Before making a custody determination in any interstate case the court must have jurisdiction over the parties by giving notice to the other parent in the form of a “notice to appear” or a “summons.” There are four options and  criteria that will be looked at when determining which state has jurisdiction under UCCJEA. They appear in order from most ideal to least ideal:

•     The “home state” is where the child is living with a parent for 6 months or immediately prior to the filing of the proceeding, and extending for another 6 months as long as a parent remains in the home state
•     If there is no home state, the state with a “significant connection” would be the next court in line for jurisdiction. This will generally be the state in which the child is attending school.
•     “More appropriate jurisdiction” will be relevant when there is no home state, no significant connection or either of the previous mentioned have declined jurisdiction. This situation can arise in cases where one or both parents is a migrant worker.
•    vacuum jurisdiction” – no other state can or will take jurisdiction.

It is important to note that a court can decline jurisdiction if the location, since determined, has become inconvenient for both parties, or if there has been misconduct on the part of either parent. Once a court has made a custody determination under any of the above jurisdiction requirements, that court will be awarded exclusive jurisdiction. This means that that court will have sole jurisdiction over any further custody issues. The UCCJEA, however, allows a court to issue temporary orders in emergency situations when the child is present in the state as long as the order is made to protect the child from abuse or threatened abuse from a family member.

Many child custody attorneys practice in a single state. If you are involved with an interstate child custody case it is imperative that you consult an attorney who is aware of all interstate laws and can help you understand your rights.

High Asset Divorce in Arizona

High Asset Divorce AttorneyIn many divorces, one of the most contentious points is the division of property and assets.  Couples have a difficult time giving up things, compromising, and coming to agreements.  Examples of assets that may be subject to division in a high asset divorce include real estate, cars, stocks, business and partnerships, investments, and pensions among other things.  When a couple has significant assets and get divorced, courts considered the dissolution a high asset divorce.

Different states have different laws on what constitues separate property and community property.  In Arizona, any property that one spouse owned before entering a marriage or gained after dissolution of marriage was filed is considered separate property, while anything obtained during the marriage is community property.

High asset divorces usually involve wealthy couples with complicated investment portfolios, multiple real estate properties, and vehicles.  In Arizona, these cases generally require the insight of financial advisors, tax experts,  and a Phoenix divorce lawyer.  Often times, spouses do not play fair  and either attempt to hide assets or greatly exaggerate their own financial needs.  An attorney can serve help protect your standard of living and resolve your disputes.